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I bet we all wish we’d invested in Zoom and similar online video conferencing platforms right about now. Those who bought stock in such companies are sitting pretty at this point. But I bet you even those who have stakes in the company don’t even know how to have a perfect Zoom call. Nobody does! We aren’t used to this way of communicating. Going into an office creates a nice separation between our personal and professional lives. And now, suddenly, just like that, we need to make corners of our homes conference-ready as many of us work from home and are expected to let a camera and microphone go live in our personal space. Yikes. If we live with another person then double yikes and if we live with several people, then multiple the yikes by the number of humans who may walk through the background naked at any point.
One thing is for certain: the social hierarchy of the workplace is being turned on its head. It doesn’t matter how high-up or respected someone is. The moment they accidentally reveal the collection of porcelain dolls in their room, everything changes. And those types of things are happening every day now. Here are some of the most embarrassing Zoom fails of late.
Person using toilet
This poor woman forgot to turn off her camera while she brought the laptop into the bathroom and, uh, answered nature’s call while on a Zoom call. Her colleagues tried to remain politely quiet as long as they could, but finally gave up.
Man falls off chair
We are all enjoying toying with the many backgrounds available to us on Zoom, right? But differentiating between reality and green screen can become tricky and dangerous, as was the case for this gentleman who tried to pretend to fall off the Empire State Building and then just actually fell off his chair.
If you’re going to leave a call make sure you actually leave the call online. This fella didn’t, and stood up, assuming he’d signed off, only to show everyone his special underwear and then wander away to scratch his butt.
Pant-less photo bomb
Not everyone in the household is on your schedule—the pant-wearing schedule, that is. Don’t forget to tell your housemates to stay out of frame if they want to walk around bottomless while you’re on a professional call.
Like I said, our homes were not built for these professional calls. We don’t live in offices: we live in our homes with our eclectic and sometimes, uh, acquired taste in decoration. Like this man with this…art? Obscenity?
Sh*t talking a coworker
And the housemates strike again! My friend was on a work call when her boyfriend wandered in, saw one of his girlfriend’s least favorite coworkers on the screen, thought his girlfriend’s mic was muted (it wasn’t) and said, “Is that Giselle who you said is really stupid and f*#ks everything up?”
A tech-savvy(?) priest
This priest wants to continue to deliver messages to his followers during these trying times, and perhaps wanted to appeal to the younger generation by using the fun filters on his video platform. But…he didn’t quite get the hang of it.
A quick change
I’m guilty of this one. I was on a video chat with a group of friends—including some dudes—and was eating soup. I spilled on my top. It was so hot and I was so panicked that I tore my top off without thinking about the fact that my camera was on.
A binge watch gone wrong
My friend had to attend an online conference for her job that she didn’t deem essential. So she just logged on to get credit for being there, and turned off her camera and mic as she just watched “Masters of Sex” in the background. Expect that she hadn’t turned her mic off.
An unfortunate screen share
Once when sharing his screen during an online video chat with a boss, my boyfriend forgot that he had a Google search of “why weird bumps under my balls?” left open.
A class interruption
Kids will be kids! With many students having to take classes online now, they’ll still find ways to be mischievous. In this case, someone shared their online class link with the Twitter-sphere so hundreds of strangers could crash the class.
“He’s not here right now”
My boyfriend did this one to me last week. We were invited to a Zoom birthday party of a friend that he did not want to attend. He made me tell our friends he was out at the store during the party. But he wasn’t and he walked right into frame to get a glass of water.
Public pet care
My friend was on a Zoom meeting with some of the most powerful people at her company. It was a long one and she wasn’t asked to speak so she figured she’d make good use of her time and brush her dog’s teeth. But she forgot to turn off her camera.
Being late to a Zoom meeting
How are people being late to Zoom meetings? You can’t tell me the traffic was bad. Or that you were doing something else. Or your yoga class ran late. But people have been arriving late to Zoom meetings saying they “got caught up.”
A private chat gone public
One family member of mine wanted to privately message a colleague while on a Zoom chat to complain that their boss dragged these meetings out and they weren’t necessary. But she accidentally posted that in the public chat.